by Christophe Pauly
– Senior Photojournalist —
Singer, songwriter and keyboardist Eva Kathryn is preparing to release her first studio album. Tentatively titled Eva Kathryn, Kathryn is joined by Marco Minnemann (Joe Satriani), Michal Mierzjewski (Symphonic Theater of Dreams, Jordan Rudess, Flying Colors), Collin Leijenaar (Neal Morse, Affector), Daniel Fries (Affector), Brendan McReynolds (Justin Bieber) and Randy George (Neal Morse).
In this exclusive interview Eva Kathryn talks about her humble beginnings as a songwriter, meeting and working in Kerry Livgren’s studio, meeting her manager Bill Evans and also discusses the new albums Prog-pop appeal.
Hardrock Haven: First would you introduce yourself to our readers?
Eva Kathryn: Bonjour mes amis! Mon nom est Eva Kathryn. I am a singer, songwriter and keyboardist from Topeka, Kansas, USA.
Hardrock Haven: How did you begin to learn music? And what (or who) gave you the motivation to learn to express yourself through music?
Eva Kathryn: Music has been a part of my life for as long as I remember. When I was young, I would fall asleep listening to soundtracks of my favorite films. I would take specific songs from different soundtracks and make a playlist so that I could dream along to the music. How much sleep did this get me? Probably very little actually! I would make up my own stories to the music … I was a very odd child.
My true love of music started, one night at the movies, when I was 13 years old. The movie was the A Perfect Storm, I found myself moved to tears by the score, written by James Horner. I felt something so deep in that moment…everything changed for me. Even so young, I knew there was something special there. I came home and started playing what I had heard. My parents bought me my first keyboard in 2000, a Kurzweil Mark 12, so that I could practice playing and eventually record my first compositions.
Hardrock Haven: How did you get in touch with Bill Evans? Why did you choose to work with him?
Eva Kathryn: Funny story. I was sitting next to my dad in church. He told me if I wanted to know more about music, to ask the man with the handle bar mustache sitting a few pews up. I was 13 years old and had no fear, (laughs). So as soon as the sermon was over, I ran up to this man and introduced myself. Little did I know that he was Kerry Livgren, the legend songwriter/guitarist from the band Kansas. He smiled at me and told me to keep writing. I think my dad was shocked that I actually went up to him and acted like it was no big deal. My dad always told me if I wanted something bad enough to go after it. So as a 13 year old that was code to stalk Kerry Livgren, and call him repeatedly. How embarrassing now that I think about! I think I wore him down, and he said come to his studio. My Kurzweil had a little floppy disc, and I did not know enough about electronic thingies to think of bringing it to Kerry’s studio. So my poor dad loaded that big honking keyboard in the back of his truck, and we drove it to the studio. I wanted Kerry to hear all of my string arrangements. He was very impressed, and offered to record a demo with me. So, at 13, there I was recording with Kerry Livgren. Except, I didn’t know who he was, so I just had fun, after that was completed, he introduced me to Bill Evans who would later become my manager, and helped me take everything to the next level. And here we are.
Hardrock Haven: How would you describe this project?
Eva Kathryn: Oh man, this is going to be one interesting album. It is very cinematic … almost like if the words weren’t there, just the music would (hopefully) take you to the same place. When I think about it … I rather see a movie with no dialog than a film without music. That’s how my mind works (in as much as it does). The music can still take me exactly where the film needs to go. With that being said, this album is my happy place. I have spent the last decade being yanked around in every direction. I have had so many people in my ear saying that I need to sing this or that kind of music … top 40 pop, jazz, orchestral, and everything in between.
This year, I decided take a step back and write how I used to—when it was fun and there were no expectations. I wasn’t thinking trying to write a hit (whatever that really means) that was under 4 minutes. My new album has no rules. I am allowing myself to create something organic that gives me a smile. So, some of the songs are ones I wrote when I was 14 or 15 years old, I just updated them a little. I see my songs like the little “Cheese it” commercial; “Are they ready? No? Yes?” Check.
The other songs are from the last two years. Time-wise, it’s really a songwriting sandwich. And very much like my personality, this album has some dark parts and some light parts … and it’s all over the place!
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